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( St Nicholas Day is December 6th)

St. Nicholas was apparently a fourth century Dutch bishop who threw money into a poor man’s house window so the man could pay his debt, instead of selling his daughters.

While the reason behind the origin of this day gives me pause, the generosity of this compassion man is certainly a trait to be honoured.

A feast day called SinterKlass grew out of this story and became a tradition where Dutch children leave out their wooden shoes to receive either gifts or coal, depending on their ‘goodness’.

I adapted this holiday tradition for my fun-loving children. Before allowing them to put one pair of their shoes outside their bedroom door, I’d read a story that emphasized the generosity of St. Nicholas.

SinterKlaas’ morning, they received chocolates in one shoe and a small gift in the other,  often enough a book that focused on morally uplifting qualities. 

All my adult children remember their eager anticipation for this ‘before Christmas’ gift.JP Only

They also remember the year one son put out every available pair of boots and shoes in the house- a total of twenty. His brothers teased him that surely he’d only get coal, for his greed defeated the point of the celebration.

Only, I understood this multiple footwear wasn’t about desiring more gifts, but rather about desiring acceptance of his unique and often outrageous personality quirks.


Since, there can never be enough ways to gift love, all twenty of those shoes and boots were filled with chocolates.

Chocolates which lasted only briefly before disappearing into his siblings’ mouths.

This gift of compassionate recognition and acceptance of his uniqueness has lasted his whole lifetime.

It is a 522338_373346192754095_2017355386_ngift which honours the spirit of Sinterklaas.

A gift that can be given to everyone,

Every day.